A personal, curatorial & bilingual Blog about: Artistic Movements, my Art, Creativity, Innovation, Design, Leadership, Empowerment, Sustainability, Science, Jazz, Movies and other cool pursuits - Blog personal y curatorial bilingüe sobre: Movimentos Artísticos, mi Arte, Creatividad, Innovación, Diseño, Liderazgo, Empoderamiento, Sustentabilidad, Ciencia, Jazz, Películas y otros temas.
Ave Maria is a Catholic University and a Town of the same name, both founded by Tom Monahan, former President/CEO and founder of the Domino´s Pizza chain, and sustained by him together with an important number of donors. More than $400 million dollars have been invested in the total project since its beginnings as Ave Maria College in 1998.
Monaghan, who is still Chairman of the University, was raised in a Catholic orphanage, making him a classic rags-to-riches story. Located at the southern end of Florida, Ave Maria is a unique place. Its development, even if it came at a slow pace at first, has been constant. While today is already one of the fastest growing new Universities in the US and a very ambitious and successful educational and lifestyle project.
Most of the people in Ave Maria are retired, work at Ave Maria University or commute to jobs in Naples, 45 minutes away. The community is surrounded by small towns – its closest neighbor being Immokalee, a community of about 20,000 people, most of them Hispanic-
In 2013, the religious order Mother Teresa founded in Calcutta, the Missionaries of Charity, granted the University official permission to establish the “Mother Teresa Project at Ave Maria University,” the first-of- its-kind in the world . No college campus in America has a program of study and service which honors this Nobel Peace Prize winner whom many believe was the most beloved individual of the 20th century.
At a time when the world is rife with violence and riven with division among the world’s religions, the goal of the Mother Teresa Project is to produce graduates of Ave Maria University who will spread her compassion and teachings to a new generation of Americans who know little about this saintly woman, and in the process, spread peace in the same manner as she did – one person at a time. (From the AMU website)
Tuesday April 26th, 4 PM, the University Library: “SIMPLICITY AS A PATH TO THE CORRECT RESULT” (AVE MARIA, FLORIDA)
Lecture by Ignacio Alperin at Ave Maria University.
The lecture will include most of the following topics:
– Universal simplicity: The scientific view (Einstein/Gell-Mann/Newton/Hawking)
– Simplicity = Beauty = Elegance?
– The role of architecture in the business universe
– The business universe: The Facebook example
– The mathematician´s trick
– Building consensus
– A matter of communication
– Nothing we imagine is absolute, yet it may still work!
This is a series of short posts presenting the artworks in “IGNACIO ALPERIN: A VISUAL JAZZ AFFAIR”, exhibition at the Watson Gallery, Naples and sponsored by the Naples Art Association together with Art Naples World Festival 2016 (Stay in May 2016). From April 28th until June 3rd, 2016.
You know that there are things you love. You see them, touch them, they may make you feel happy, or uncomfortable, or childlike, or even sad. Yet, you still love them.
That happens to me with many gallery experiences. I go in and see stuff that I simply enjoy. As most of you may know, I am an artist myself. So I love seeing what others do, how others express themselves, their techniques, their sublime expressiveness and their massive flops. It is all part of the planetary network of neurons that we all share as artists. If you want, it is something like letting the left side of your brain getting a glimpse of what the right side is doing. Sometime you may approve and sometimes you may not, but most of the times, you will probably think “that´s different, why didn´t I think of that” (while in others it will be more like “I´m glad I didn´t go there…).
There are as many visual paradigms as inhabitants on this planet we call Earth. Yet the freedom to express those different views of the world are not that simply available. We artists are, in general, highly sensitive individuals. And we are courageous too. The truth is that not everyone is prepared to pour his or her heart out so that someone can trample on it. We artists do that time and time again, and I can assure you there is always someone ready to trample, jump, back-up over the victim, and even do a few wheelies over the dead body.
But we learn to survive with certain stoicism. Sometimes it hurts, but we have also learned that survival is paramount to our success. Most of us will use basic methods of defense like intellectually separating the views on our art from personal references (which are different things in fact, but not always easily disconnected at the receiving end).
The truth is that our art is usually something very personal. Our artistic expression is a part of our inner being just hanging somewhere for people to see and criticize. And so, in self defense, some of us may resort to more unusual methods of resistance. They may vary from practicing Voodoo, to even make the “tramplers” (I think I just made up a new word) part of a very profound exhibition on the subject of feces – or something of the sort -.
Jokes aside, it is quite clear that criticism, and therefore critics, are part of the business. There are good critics. Some kind, some harsh, some provocative, but in general terms, they are looking to guide, to get the kinks out of our work by forcing us to move when we have become staid, or to help us stop when we are moving too far away from our essence. The truth is that there are as many critics as people who see our work (“Everyone´s a critic” as the old showbiz saying goes).
But then there is another special race. These are darker figures lurching in the shadows. Critics like, let me see… like you are a werewolf and they are vampires and we are in the middle of a battle from the “Underworld” movies.
These people gladly – and without afterthought – destroy without pity, they convey lessons that they themselves made up about the “right” way to do things and the “wrong” way to do them, or are even stuck in some rigid and parsimonious “standard of practices manual” – which they themselves have written or presumed-.
And it is not that I do not agree with the fact that certain things should not be done in the name of art. People hurting animals, or other people for that fact, or making fun of the old or the frail in the name of art sickens me. Can someone call that art? Sure, you can call art anything you want. Now, is it art? And most importantly, should that be done? In my book these things would rank as a definite “No” (Paraphrasing Chris Rock: “You can drive a car with your feet, but that doesn’t mean it is something to be done”).
But these people are not about criticizing these things. They place themselves in the role of judges of the correct ethical and artistic paradigm, and then proceed to destroy the poor artist who dares cross over or yet remain in visual or aesthetic areas with which they do not agree.
Some of these so called critics, albeit not all of course, even agree with the crazy stunts I mentioned before for the sake of being on the “edge”, or for the sake of generating a new market, or a new “visual experience”. And if they change their own sustaining paradigms in the middle of the stream, they will usually explain this move as just their way of evolving. Never as the result of the work of the artists which they had summarily and harshly dismiss not long ago.
These people I have happily renamed “The Art Nazis”. Just like the beloved “Soup Nazi” of Seinfeld fame, the Art Nazi is that person who has such a strict view of what art is or should be, that shoots to kill anything that does not fit within his or her views.
The truth is that we may find them anywhere. There are even dealers and gallery owners who also belong to the Art Nazi breed. And I can tell you, they are not only difficult for the emerging artists who come to them for advise, and who get shot down and sent to the back of the imaginary line. They are also the young artist´s worst enemy, and the established artist most difficult nightmare.
“What rubbish”, or the look of disdain and the typical “this is not good enough”, to the pretty extremist “get THIS out of my gallery” (all true cases) are not uncommon. These rebukes, and right to the jugular type of criticism, resonates in the poor heads of artists, some of whom have even crumbled under the weight of the Art Nazi´s critical hammer.
People have the right to “like or not like”, criticize, ignore or applaud – I am not disputing any that -, but visual coerciveness to force a resolution acceptable to some rule is conceptually the opposite of art. Yet, it is apparent that some egos must be fed, some closed markets maintained and some careers pushed along.So the Art Nazis survive by keeping a tight reign over their whole area of influence.
The lesson is always one. Always take the time to listen, even if it is harsh criticism. But learn to distinguish between a tough critic and your run of the mill “art nazi”. In their case, the way to proceed is to just ignore their painful remarks and keep looking for other avenues of exchange.
The main thing is not to lose your faith and keep searching for those who will finally understand what you are trying to say. Look for the ones who may even “get” your point, or those who will be critical – even relentlessly – but always in good faith. Search for those who will be amazed at your freedom of expression and at the fact that, your constant disregard of some accepted paradigm, has allowed you to cross over into another artistic dimension. In short, search for the ones that, with their comments, will nurture you somehow instead of just feed their own egos.
There are a lot of good people out there. From individual art lovers, to experts, critics, journalists, curators, art dealers, “connoisseurs”, and gallery owners who love art a little bit more that the “Art industry”. And do not misunderstand me. I am all for the Art Industry. But if we kill the artist, we will kill the industry as well.
So, find the good honest thinkers, the ones that believe in, and protect, freedom of expression. Maybe, unlike the Soup Nazi, they may not always necessarily have long queues of people at the door who are ready to be fed their concoctions. But these are the people who know what true Art is all about. They are the ones who will guide you and help you to go as far as you possibly can with your career.
I urge you to look for them. I am sure they are out there waiting for you and your art.
The whole concept behind every one of my short lectures, seminars and curses on creative and innovative thinking, working productively in groups, art and other connected subjects, is to engage the imagination and the interest of newcomers to the subject and knowledgeable individuals alike.
It is very common to hear these days about people feeling unhappy with work, and very often with their life choices as well. The end result is an evident tension at home and at the work place, few new ideas, lack of energy to pursue other options, and a general feeling that things are not flowing for them.
Sometimes this has to do with family pressures, sometimes with limitations we set ourselves. Most of the time there is a feeling that we have been given a series of talents and “gifts”, as I call them, and we are not taking advantage of them. There is this numb sensation that life goes on without us doing anything to change our reality and that one day we may realize, maybe even too late, that we did not follow our dreams and that opportunity has knocked on our door, and left forever.
The idea is to deconstruct many of these preconceptions about being creative members of society, resolve common perceptions based on fears, disinformation or social pressures, and open hearts and minds to the immense possibilities of freeing our creative juices, be it for our own benefit, the people we work with, and our community in general.
Attendees should leave these lectures armed with “tools”, concepts (and concrete ways to put them into use) that will help them to be more effective, work better with others, and be more productive in general.
Finally, these lectures and seminars are not about “self-help”. Quite the contrary, they are about recognizing that to be happy and active members of society, things must be less about “me” and a lot more about “us”.
Depending on what is required, and the level of detail, they all can range from 30 minutes + Q&A to 2 hours + Q&A each.
Aimed specially (but not exclusively) at: Students, creative professionals, artists, CEOs/Managers of creative enterprises or corporate areas, and anyone interested in creative activities.
These are single lectures, but they can also be mixed and matched in terms of contents, or converted into full seminars. Any company, group, NGO, or government office interested in any one of these lectures can contact Luz at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Borges is one of Argentina´s great prides. The kind of author that forces everyone to say “Of course I´ve read Borges!” (be it true or not).
His friend and sometime collaborator, the also brilliant writer Adolfo Bioy Casares, called his texts “halfway houses between an essay and a story”.
Borges was not known as a great lover of music. He enjoyed classical music, and even tango as long as the “bandoneon” was not too prominent.
There is a lovely story about him going, invited by a friend, to watch a tango musician and composer whom everyone said was some kind of “boy wonder” of the new tango wave. One that borrowed a great deal from his New York upbringing and carried a very jazzy influence. His name was Astor Piazzola.
Borges apparently stayed for about six songs, and suddenly turned around, looked at his friend, and said: “Let´s go. Apparently they decided they were not going to play tango tonight”. Or so the story goes.
If you have never read him, recommended works by this very influential author (some have gone as far as to say that he may have been the XXth Century´s best writer: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20140902-the-20th-centurys-best-writer ) could be Ficciones (The Garden of Forking Paths, The Circular Ruins for example), Laberynth, The Aleph, and the earlier The Approach to Al-Mu’tasim (1938).
Borges is a bridge. A bridge between old and new, North and South, Classical and modern trends. In way he is also a bridge between Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. He is all about being new while rehashing what has already been done. Showing that what we create is more like what we “recreate”. His stories are wonderful to read, despite their inherent complexity, and they always feel new.
Clearly, he was also more open minded than many gave him credit for, since even after allegedly leaving Piazzola´s concert and despite his known dislike for the bandoneon, shortly after he went on to join forces with him in a project in 1965. From that wonderful coupling we have this beautiful song simply called: “El Tango”.
Everyone who has explored his or her creative gifts has found that inspiration cannot be kept tied to one single form of expression. The fact is that many painters sing or act, some actors cook or paint, even some dancers are singers or sculptors. The choices and variations are almost limitless.
As you all know, I paint. It is my preferred expressive outlet. I love what I do, I feel I am constantly growing and I love exploring my artistic leanings through color and form. I know that I also have other God given talents. For example, I sing, although my shyness has gotten the best of me. My baritone voice is today a rough expression of a natural gift and it will probably remain so for the foreseeable future; I have also studied acting and I love it. But yet again, I never managed to get that “break” that seems to be necessary to make something of it and that has been that, at least until now.
For a lateral thinker like me, creativity can take on many guises. Cooking was one of the earlier ones, together with painting. My old school buddies still remember me in the kitchen “creating” grape sorbets and crazy cookies when we were just 10 or 12. Today, I probably cook as much as I paint, and I know my friends enjoy coming to visit, see what I’m working on a canvas, and later enjoy a full meal prepared by me while we chat.
For those who are afraid of cooking, let me tell you, it is one of the most creative and freeing exercises you can find. It is quite simple to grasp once you know some of the basic concepts (ALL of them so obviously logical and sensible that you will wonder why you didn’t learn them before).
Food is something to be shared. Both at the preparation stage (with your family, your kids, your wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend or just with friends) and obviously as you all enjoy the end result. It is also a great way to become even more creative.
So, my recommendation would be: Let´s go cooking!
And as long as we are talking about cooking, how about if we look now at some cooking of mine, but of a different kind.
This is Cooking with Art´s Chili Pepper (and a taste of Art Pepper´s Chili Peppers right after it).
Originally released in early 1963, Monk’s Dream was the first Thelonious Monk album for Columbia Records.
Far from his late 40s early days of play, bop, and boomerang like throws of tempo and melody, by late 1962 his spirit had been broken.
Gone were also the days of his 50s Prestige Albums for which he felt he had had little recognition. Only in the period spanning 1958 to 1962 he was finally received as he felt he should. He was finally considered one of the preeminent figures in contemporary Jazz.
As a matter of fact, he also began recording this album in 1962, and it was released months later in 1963.
Columbia was then the home of Brubeck and Davis, and Monk filled the spot for this trio of sorts for a label building a mark around what was new with jazz.
Monk´s dream is also my panting.
50cmx50cm, acrylic, inks and oil based paints on canvas. Painted in 2015, it expresses the volatility of Monk´s playing, his hot a cold moments, his ups and downs like some cartoon mountain range, his almost mad cap presence, and the difficulty of those around him to keep up with his inventive as well as happy, almost exuberant, playing.
Monk´s Dream was the last of the great Monk, and it became also the best selling album of his career. He topped it only in 1964 when he was in the prestigious cover of Time Magazine with an article called “The loneliest Man”.
Even though he kept playing and releasing albums until 1971, he was no longer the same that had dazzled beatnicks and jazz lovers alike for almost two decades. His unclearly diagnosed mental illness was becoming more of an issue in his life, causing paying and anguish to everyone around him.
He sadly passed away in 1982, at the relatively young age of 64.